Area Teachers of the Year pose with their plaques at a ceremony at Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Tuesday. Teachers honored included (front row, l-r) Barbara Williams, MACU; Joey Clarkson, New Life Academy; Andi Ware-Lawrence, Albemarle School; (second row, l-r) Sharon Meads, Pasquotank High; Melody White, College of The Albemarle (2013); Joseph Lisowski, Elizabeth City State University; Mark Harnley, Camden High School; Dana Newton, COA (2012).


Teachers of the Year Celebration at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Thomas J. Turney/The Daily Advance

Area Teachers of the Year pose with their plaques at a ceremony at Mid-Atlantic Christian University on Tuesday. Teachers honored included (front row, l-r) Barbara Williams, MACU; Joey Clarkson, New Life Academy; Andi Ware-Lawrence, Albemarle School; (second row, l-r) Sharon Meads, Pasquotank High; Melody White, College of The Albemarle (2013); Joseph Lisowski, Elizabeth City State University; Mark Harnley, Camden High School; Dana Newton, COA (2012). Teachers of the Year Celebration at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Schools, colleges name top educators

By Reggie Ponder

The Daily Advance

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The Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday recognized area teachers for excellence, enthusiasm and diligence as the 2013 Teacher of the Year awards were presented.

The 2013 Teacher of the Year honors, presented during a ceremony at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, went to:

• Sharon Meads, a biology teacher at Pasquotank County High School, who is the Teacher of the Year for Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools;

• Mark Harnly, health and physical education teacher and basketball coach at Camden County High School, Teacher of the Year in Camden;

• Melody White, who teaches nursing at College of The Albemarle, the 2013 Teacher of the Year at COA;

•  Dana Newton, who teaches marine science at COA, 2012 Teacher of the Year at the college;

• Barbara Williams, who heads the elementary education program at MACU, Teacher of the Year at the university;

• Joseph Lisowski, a professor of language, literature and communication at Elizabeth City State University Teacher of the Year at ECSU;

• Andi Ware-Lawrence, who teaches a second- and third-grade combination at Albemarle School, Teacher of the Year at the private academy; and

• Joey Clarkson, second-grade teacher at New Life Academy, Teacher of the Year for the private school.

Meads said it feels great to be recognized as a teacher of the year. But she’ll still teach the same way she always has, she said when asked about the honor after the ceremony.

“It’s not going to make a difference for me in the classroom,” she said.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Superintendent Linwood Williams said Meads’ principal described her as open and inquisitive and indicated she works every day to ensure all students have the best education possible. She constantly learns new approaches to teaching and appreciates that students learn in different ways, Williams said.

“I enjoy the interactions with the students,” Meads said. “I enjoy getting to know them and what they’re interested in.”

Camden Schools Superintendent Melvin Hawkins said Harnly is known for his energy, compassion and “willingness to make students better than they are.”

“We just have great kids,” Harnly said after the ceremony.

He said he has had opportunities to go elsewhere, but no one could guarantee him he would have kids like he has at Camden.

“They do truly try to get better every day, and that’s what I love them and that’s why I’m still there,” Harnly said.

COA President Kandi Deitemeyer said White has been described as a student advocate and as relaxed but thorough. White provides real-life instruction to students and prepares them for the real world, according to colleagues and students.

“I enjoy giving the students a lifelong opportunity to care for other people,” White said after the ceremony.

Being able to help students become nurses is the most rewarding part of her job, she said.

“I think that’s the best thing that I can say about it,” White said.

Deitemeyer said Newton makes presentations to high school students to get them interested in marine science. Newton enjoys getting out on the water with students and helping them understand the importance of the marine environment, according to Deitemeyer.

MACU President Clark Perkins noted that students say Williams pushes them to be their best.

“It’s overwhelming,” Williams said. “I never expected (the honor of being named teacher of the year), to say the least.”

Williams said she enjoys working with elementary education students because she knows she’s helping to grow the next generation of great teachers.

“These are going to make awesome teachers, and that’s what I’m in the business of doing,” she said.

ECSU Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist pointed out that Lisowski’s students describe him as fair, caring and easy to talk with. Lisowski is an author, poet and professor, Gilchrist said.

Ware-Lawrence’s students described her as nice, loving and cheerful, according to Albemarle School Principal Billy Stallings.

Stallings said Ware-Lawrence comes to school every day with a smile on her face and takes on a lot of extra responsibility including fundraising activities.

Clarkson was described by her colleagues at New Life as someone who teaches students to love reading and individualizes instruction for all students.

Other teachers recognized during Tuesday’s ceremony included teachers of the year at all schools in the Camden and Elizabeth City-Pasquotank school districts as well as the Upper School at Albemarle Academy. Those individual school honorees included:

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank

Alicia Billups, Central Elementary

LaShekia Brothers, Elizabeth City Middle

Sharron Bell, H.L. Trigg Community

Kathy Masters, J.C. Sawyer Elementary

Michelle Johnson, Northeastern High

Tonia Bennett, Northside Elementary

Joycelyn Hinton, P.W. Moore Elementary

Katrina Sutton, Pasquotank Elementary

Mary Jackson, River Road Middle

Nicole Lavinder, Sheep-Harney Elementary

Marie Alvarez, Weeksville Elementary

Camden

Jenny Parker, Grandy Primary

Angela Richardson, Camden Intermediate

Denise Thomas, Camden Middle

Kellie Forbes, CamTech High

Albemarle School

Jennifer Macaluso, Upper School